Ransomware is still highly popular amongst cybercriminals, because users continue to fall into their not-so-carefully-crafted traps.

Security researchers discover more than 100,000 new malware variants every single day – indeed, it can be difficult to keep up. However, it seems that all this innovation is going to waste, as users are still vulnerable to the tried and tested methods of yesterday. In particular, people cannot resist clicking on an email attachment, even if they have no idea what it contains or who it’s from.

Do not open suspicious-looking email attachments

Curiosity killed the cat or, in these cases, the computer. The criminals depend on the recipients of their emails opening an innocent-looking attachment, which actually contains a malicious script. Soon after, the user’s files will be encrypted and they’ll be asked to pay a fee to release them.

Naturally, these campaigns don’t last long, as the criminals will want to avoid being detected and will attempt to achieve this by changing the malware slightly. Unfortunately, a proportion of victims will pay these criminals to get their files back safely, and so these attacks continue.

Some criminals are craftier than others – the emails they create are carefully written and sent out to one or two people within a company. While these have a greater chance of fooling the recipient, emails that are sent out to thousands of people across the world and make hardly any effort to encourage the recipients to open them do still work.

Avoid becoming a victim of ransomware

There are three simple measures that all users should be taking in order to avoid becoming a victim of ransomware and other malicious software.

Firstly, you should implement an email filtering software to sift out the majority of dodgy emails and their attachments. Secondly, stop opening suspicious files from email addresses you do not recognise. Finally, you should install an anti-virus solution and keep it up to date – not doing the latter could mean newer malware slips through the net.